Offers made for parts of AS Cooper
Several offers have been made for parts of the AS Cooper retail business.
Charles Thresh, of KPMG Advisory Ltd, a joint provisional liquidator for the more than century-old family business, said the priority was trying to sell the whole business and to get the best possible outcome for creditors, including employees.
AS Cooper's stores were closed on March 18 this year because of the Covid-19 outbreak and have not reopened since. Last month, provisional liquidators were appointed to try to sell the business as a going concern.
Stores for sale include Vineyard Vines, the AS Cooper menswear business and the AS Cooper womenswear operation.
The retailer's former ground-floor business on Front Street, now known as 59 Front, which sells cosmetics, fragrances, gifts, china and crystal, was previously sold and is not affected by the appointment of liquidators.
Mr Thresh told The Royal Gazette: “The JPLs have received several non-binding offers that were for different aspects of the business, and are reviewing each of these offers and seeking clarification to ensure we understand those that represent the best value for stakeholders.
“We are hoping to agree a sale of all parts of the business and our efforts remain concentrated on that, for the benefit of creditors — the first priority being the employees, whose claims sit at the top of the statutory claims waterfall, after the costs of the liquidation process.
“At this stage, whether a sale of all parts of the business and the overall outcome for creditors remains uncertain.”
He added that the liquidators' job was a multi-stage process, first ensuring security of the assets and understanding the financial position of the company and next finding buyers for the core businesses.
Proceeds will be used “to meet the expenses of the liquidation and meet the claims of stakeholders in accordance with the statutory order of priority of creditor claims”, he added.
Alexander Samuel Cooper founded the family business as a general store in 1897, before AS Cooper evolved into a men's and women's fashion store.
Its Hamilton sites are AS Cooper Ladies on Reid Street, AS Cooper Man and Vineyard Vines on Front Street, plus a store in the Clocktower Mall in Dockyard.
Mr Thresh said: “We appreciate it is a difficult time for those involved and we will conclude the process, and communicate the outcome to those affected, as soon as we can.”
• Anyone with questions regarding the liquidation should e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call Shrene Shergill on 295-5063